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Build Your Own Website With Serif WebPlus X6

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At a Glance
  • Serif WebPlus X6

For many businesses and individuals alike, the question of whether to blog, keep a traditional website, or maintain any of a number of social media accounts is a common quandary. Blogging sites have ways of incorporating traditional content, but do you want to reinvent your Web presence around a blogging site? Social media is great for feedback, but why be tied to the site of the moment? And traditional websites with static content are so 2004. Now you don't have to choose, because with Serif's $100 WebPlus X6 you can incorporate blogging and social media access with an easy WYSIWYG website development tool, and manage it all from Serif's site.

WebPlus X6 screenshot
In addition to Quick Build and Asset tools, WebPlus includes a How To toolbar that resides on the desktop with links to tutorials and the complete Help menu.
WebPlus X6 can import HTML files from a local source or URL. It also comes loaded with about 30 theme layouts, a handful of X6 Pro templates, and a link to free content packs on Serif's Website. Each template and layout includes a few different color themes—colors that have specifically been chosen to complement the layout style, so you don't end up with pink body text on a purple background—but you can use any of the color themes for any layout.

Each layout also comes in two general sizes: one for a regular website, and one for mobile devices. Unfortunately it's up to you to cut and paste the content. But WebPlus X6 offers you some options for creating a smooth Internet-to-mobile-experience. You can include mobile-ready (and -sized) pages within your site, or link to a separate site. In addition, WebPlus allows you to automatically redirect depending on device accessing the page and set a time delay for the redirect. Redirecting based on user device is one of the features not available in WebPlus Starter Edition, the free version of WebPlus.

WebPlus X6 includes a good balance of professional-looking business sites, and more relaxed, playful ideas. They include almost everything you'd expect from a website template: Home page, contact us, product/image showcase, etc. Unfortunately, some of the WebPlus X6's templates are a little busy, and the fake Latin text (not the usual lorem ipsum) can be a distraction ): you may find yourself trying to read it to discover what the page was really intended for. Fortunately any element you don't like can be relatively easy to change, delete, or you can start from scratch.

Drawing from scratch is not as easy with WebPlus as with Xara Web Designer MX (a $50 WYSIWYG Web design program with equally adaptable templates). Unlike the full scope of excellent drawing tools available in Xara, WebPlus includes quickshapes, line drawing, and artistic text, plus a generic image editor. It's a little tricky to master. However, WebPlus X6 is really easy to use even if you are not a designer or Web designer. You can use it even if you have no experience whatsoever with desktop publishing.

When you opt to create a new web page from scratch rather than from a template, you are given some size options: 320 pixels (typical smartphone width), 640 pixels (iPhone 4/4S protrait native width, 750 (for smaller monitors), 960 pixels (recommended), 1200 pixels (for widescreen monitors only), or a custom width. You are then asked choose a navbar style and Assets, which essentially are the elements from the various templates and content packs. WebPlus X6 includes a lot of content—graphics (icons, buttons, etc), stock images, panels, buttons, picture frames, content, backgrounds—fortunately you can add Assets any time, and it makes it a lot easy to work on your design when you have a few ideas in front of you (rather than the entire content pack).

Smart Content, such as blogs, forums, and hit counters, are hosted on Serif's servers. For that, you'll need to create a Serif Web Resources User account, regardless of whether you plan to host your site with Serif. The user account is free for up to 512MB per month of bandwidth, and is separate from your Serif account. The good news, however, is that you can create a blog built right into your website, and use your Serif Web Resources User account as a very simple content management system. This is definitely one-up on Xara Web Designer MX and many other WYSIWYG web design tools, which rely exclusively on RSS feeds, document frames, and linking to blogging sites for content.

Out of all of Serif's products, WebPlus is the one that has really hit the mark for me. It's simple to use, yet has all the tools a business or individual might need to keep a current online presence. WebPlus X6 has its quirks, but it's a great tool and well worth the money if you need to build an basic site—and maintain it with current content. If you need ecommerce or other very advanced features, you may need a more advanced program like $45 WYSIWYG Web Builder, but for most folk, WebPlus is the web … plus.

Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor's site, where you must pay to download the latest version of the software.

—Clare Brandt

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At a Glance
  • Build a WYSIWYG Web site with integrated blogging and social media content.


    • Includes free Serif Web Resources User account
    • Incorporate a blog and social media into your site
    • Drag-and-drop Assets from templates to your design


    • No free trial
    • Importing existing HTML sometimes problematic
    • Overly-busy templates
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